Wimbledon, which was scheduled to start on Monday, is set to receive more than $100 million thanks to a pandemic insurance policy. Tournament organizers canceled the event for the first time since 1945 because of the coronavirus.
Wimbledon is one of the rare sporting events to purchase pandemic insurance, paying roughly $2 million a year the last 17 years – a strategy that dates back to the SARS outbreak in 2002.
While that more than $100 million will only pale in comparison to the tournament’s projected $300 million in revenue, CEO Richard Lewis said it is “financially very stable.” But, it will not have the insurance security next year, as Lewis said getting that coverage is “impossible in the current climate.”
However, that isn’t expected to affect the tournament’s long-term viability. If the pandemic continues into next year and limits attendance, Wimbledon organizers could model the tournament after what the U.S. and French Open tournaments do in the coming months.
Professional tennis will effectively restart in August with the Citi Open, which will lead into the U.S. Open. Both tournaments will be held without fans. The plan at the U.S. Open specifically is to put players in a bubble until they are eliminated from the tournament, including at the TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Despite the safety efforts, top players like Rafael Nadal are still wary of international travel and may skip the tournament, while possible travel restrictions between Europe and the U.S. loom large for other stars.